Oligarchs Assets

Dmitry Firtash accused in Chicago bribery case 10 years ago, declares ‘Enough is enough’

Who Is Ukrainian Oligarch Dmitry Firtash ?

According to recent reports, Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash is facing legal trouble in Chicago as he awaits the decision of prosecutors. He has been described as being “stuck in time” due to the uncertainty of his fate.

Chicago (WLS) – The last ten years have brought about significant changes in the world, from a global health crisis to shifts in political leadership and ongoing conflicts. Despite closely following these events, Dmitry Firtash, a wealthy oligarch and businessman, remains stationary in Austria, separated from his home country of Ukraine which is currently embroiled in a struggle for survival. This is due to the influence of Chicago prosecutors who hold the power to determine his fate.

Who Is Dmitry Firtash ?

10 years ago, Firtash was detained in Europe by U.S. authorities with the intention of promptly extraditing him to Chicago. At that time, a federal grand jury had issued an indictment against the wealthy businessman for his alleged involvement in a complex bribery scheme.

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However, Dmitry Firtash and the justice authorities in Austria, where he was apprehended, had different thoughts regarding the simplicity of being extradited.

A decade later, Dmitry Firtash who was accustomed to traveling in private jets, yachts, and living a lavish lifestyle, found himself confined without ever being found guilty of a crime.

On March 12, 2024, Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian citizen, will have spent a decade in Austria since his arrest in Vienna at the behest of the United States government. This was based on a 2013 indictment from Chicago regarding a project in India that allegedly began in 2005 but never materialized. Dan Webb, a prominent defense attorney in Chicago and former U.S. attorney, has been representing Firtash for several years.

Despite never having been to the U.S., not speaking English, and not conducting any business there, Firtash was requested to be arrested and extradited to the U.S. by the American government. As a result, Firtash has been forced to remain in Austria for the past 10 years, unable to leave and exercising his legal right to contest extradition to a country he has never set foot in.

The prosecution of Firtash has been a source of confusion since it was quietly filed ten years ago. At the time, he was not well-known, especially in Chicago. The case revolved around accusations of attempting to bribe Indian government officials. According to the prosecutors, the alleged conspiracy included a sum of $18.5 million in illicit payments related to a titanium contract with Boeing, the major aviation company that has not faced any charges in connection to the Firtash case.

According to a statement obtained by the ABC7 I-Team on Wednesday, Webb stated that despite the United States’ attempts to extradite him, Firtash has been successful twice in Austrian courts since his arrest. The Austrian trial court concluded in 2015 that there was no evidence to support the allegations against Dmitry Firtash, leading to the denial of his extradition.

The Austrian appellate court has decided to reopen the extradition proceedings against Dmitry Firtash in 2023, after several years of appeals. This decision was made based on the belief that the evidence justifies revisiting the case and examining whether the U.S. government’s request for Firtash’s extradition was influenced by political considerations.

In an interview with the I-Team in June 2022, Dmitry Firtash stated that despite his plans to fight extradition, he would appear in court in Chicago if he were to lose. From Vienna, Austria, he asserted that the case against him is baseless and unjust. His legal team in Chicago has also expressed their strong opinions on the matter, even a decade after the initial incident.

Webb stated that Dmitry Firtash has repeatedly asserted his innocence in this particular and dated case, which has no valid ties to the United States or Chicago. This is evident by the fact that there are five other defendants from foreign countries who were indicted for the same charges, yet the U.S. government has not made a genuine effort to bring them to the U.S. for trial.

Additionally, the allegations in the indictment pertain to a project that was supposed to take place in India almost two decades ago, but Indian authorities have not pursued charges against anyone involved. In fact, they even dismissed an attempt to detain one of Firtash’s co-defendants, who is allegedly an Indian national, as stated in a court order issued by the High Court of Judicature of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad on April 28, 2014.

According to Webb and Matthew Carter, who are both from the Chicago-based law firm Winston and Strawn, it is necessary for the U.S. government to reassess the validity of this outdated case and acknowledge the conclusions that have been reached by both the Austrian courts and Indian authorities. They argue that the evidence, which has been continuously gathered and has bolstered Firtash’s defense over the past decade, clearly demonstrates that there is no basis for forcing Firtash to face trial in the U.S.

Should Dmitry Firtash decide to depart from Austria, the extradition hold enforced by Austrian officials would disappear, leaving him vulnerable to being transported to Chicago for trial at the Dirksen federal building. Thus, after ten years have passed, he remains confined and anticipates as his eleventh year of being held captive commences.

According to Webb, the U.S. government has caused Dmitry Firtash to lose valuable time with his loved ones, disrupted his successful businesses, and restricted his ability to support Ukraine during its war. Webb believes that this has gone on for too long and urges the U.S. government to drop the case against Firtash and grant him the freedom that has already been taken from him for a decade.

The US attorney in Chicago refused to address the matter on Tuesday afternoon and did not provide any response to Webb’s request to drop the indictment after ten years.

According to the representative of the federal prosecutor’s office, Joseph Fitzpatrick, there is no commentary on the statement at this time.

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